Sports | February 7, 2020 11:15 am

Is the Astros’ 2017 Title Legit? AJ Hinch Won’t Give a Straight Answer.

Enjoy 90 seconds of professional waffling

Is the Astros’ 2017 Title Legit? AJ Hinch Won’t Give a Straight Answer.
(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

MLB Network will air a full interview with former Astros manager AJ Hinch tonight, at 6 ET. It’s the man’s first public appearance since his firing for his role in the sign-stealing scandal back in early January, and if the sneak peek for the interview is in any indication, it’s simply not worth your time.

MLB Network’s Tom Verducci asks Hinch a pretty straightforward question: Is the 2017 title tainted? Hinch rambles for the next 90 seconds as a way of response, acknowledging that “it’s a fair question” before deciding that “everyone is going to have to draw their own conclusions.”

He also says: “I hope over time and the demonstration of the talent of this team and the players and the careers that are being had — we have some of the best players in the entire sport all together on the same team — I hope over time it’s proven that it wasn’t [tainted]. But I understand the question … Unfortunately we opened that door as a group, and that question may never be answered. We may never know.”

Obviously, getting on television and proclaiming the best accomplishment of your life (and 65 some-odd other lives) was a total sham is less than desirable. So the waffling isn’t too surprising. But alone among members of the Astros organization, Hinch expressed contrition after Rob Manfred’s ruling dropped last month. Jeff Luhnow, the franchise’s disgraced general manager, blamed the saga on pretty much everyone below him, down to the service staff at Minute Maid Park, while the team’s players, some of whom are famously active on social media (Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander), have refused to apologize, let alone even acknowledge the cheating.

In some ways, though, Hinch’s non-answer has some truth. Is the title tainted? To millions of fans across 29 cities (especially New York and Los Angeles), hell yes. Is it tainted in the streets of Houston? Or the hallways of Minute Maid? Perhaps not. People will indeed draw their own conclusions. The frustrating part is how those conclusions — much like the self-serving muck in Washington, D.C. — seem to serve distorted, title-tinted reality.

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